What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Astus » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:45 am

That's assuming that the descendants of immigrants will keep the religion and not decide to be assimilated into the non-religious or Christian local community.

One of my Zen teachers (non-Asian) said that what he regretted about retreats was that there was no opportunity to get to know the others he spent the time with there. So on his retreats there are quite a lot of community programs, discussions, in a not so organised format. It is not a formal retreat at all and hardly about doing a lot of meditation. However, it is not advertised for outsiders, but everyone is welcome.
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Luke » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:15 pm

Huseng wrote:How do you get the two sides together? That's really tough.

I think Buddhist priests need to take the initiative and then their sanghas will follow. For example, if a Buddhist priest who leads a sangha of westerners and a Buddhist who leads a sangha of ethnic Asians made it a priority to try to integrate their two sanghas, or to at the very least have some joint-sangha events, then I think their sangha members would follow their teachers' lead and see it as an opportunity to practice generosity and compassion.

But without the leadership at the top pushing for such integration, nothing will happen. An Asian sangha member will probably just think that "Oh, well my Buddhist priest doesn't think that talking to westerners is important, so why should I?"
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Astus » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:50 pm

It's unlikely that monks and teachers will take the initiative. I'm saying that because from Buddhist history it seems to me that usually it was the laity that started things and the monastic sangha eventually reacted on it. That is understandable as far as it is the monks duty to maintain the tradition, so they're supposed to be the conservative force. There are exceptions of course.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:53 pm

The adaptation will happen. We just need to keep in mind Buddhist temples in Europe, Australia and North America often serve the specific spiritual and social needs of a specific demographic. There is nothing sinister about that.

However, it will change. The children with no connections to their parents' homelands will have little need to reconstruct some distant culture in their native homeland.

But then as Astus has pointed out, this assumes of course the kids will actually care about Buddhism when they're adults.

The trend towards sanitizing yourself of religion of any kind due to cultural demands dictating such things (particularly if they're studying sciences) also will encourage those youth to abandon Buddhism.

It is a complicated situation...

I think the ideal route is building actual seminaries in western countries where the training is undertaken in the local language. The problem though is financing such operations...
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Luke » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:32 pm

Huseng wrote:I think the ideal route is building actual seminaries in western countries where the training is undertaken in the local language. The problem though is financing such operations...

Yes, perhaps that would be a good subject for a new thread: how to finance Buddhist monasteries in the west.

I'm not a very practical person, so I don't have many ideas.

Perhaps monasteries could run counciling and suicide prevention hotlines and get money from the government while performing a helpful service for society?
1-800-DIAL-A-LAMA

Or maybe they could run a hotline where people could get expert advice about Buddhism?
1-800-GESHE-HELP

Or maybe they could make wine and sell it like some European monks did?
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:22 am

Maybe just learn that dana comes before sila, samadhi and prajna on the path?
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:44 am

Huifeng wrote:Maybe just learn that dana comes before sila, samadhi and prajna on the path?


So making and selling wines like Luke suggests is out of the question, eh?
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Astus » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:32 am

Huifeng wrote:Maybe just learn that dana comes before sila, samadhi and prajna on the path?


Are you suggesting that the "Buddhist Law of Attraction" is that "the more you give the more you get"? So, Buddhists should give more money/effort and more teaching which results in more followers who're willing to pay for monasteries. Logical.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:06 am

Luke wrote:And how about a mandala offering of muffins?
Image



The muffin offering is a wonderful idea but...

Is it even possible to get the muffins to the place of offering before they get eaten?

Mightn't this turn out to be the briefest offering in history?

As a supporting argument, count the muffins in the picture. There is no such thing as a seven-muffin baking pan. As the photo was snapped, at least one muffin and maybe as many as five had already disappeared.
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Luke » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:01 pm

catmoon wrote:The muffin offering is a wonderful idea but...

Is it even possible to get the muffins to the place of offering before they get eaten?

Mightn't this turn out to be the briefest offering in history?

A lesson in impermanence, maybe? Lol. Only a lama's closest disciples could be trusted with the task of guarding muffin offerings.

But on a serious note, it's very bad to steal (and eat!) offerings which were intended for the Three Jewels.

But perhaps a very compassionate lama could hold a grand muffin tsog in which everyone could rejoice in both Dharma and muffins.

I take refuge in the Three Jewels--and I also happen to like muffins. Speaking of muffins, the muffin concept isn't really understood in Hungary. I once received a chocolate muffin for dessert, but it was almost a cupcake. Clearly, some muffin missionaries are needed here...

Okay back to topic. Given the irresistable nature of muffins, perhaps a monastery in the west could make and sell muffins to generate revenue? "Monk muffins"? Muffins are probably more Buddhist than wine.
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:46 pm

Luke wrote:But on a serious note, it's very bad to steal (and eat!) offerings which were intended for the Three Jewels.


Once they've been on the altar for awhile people usually eat them.

It would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

One problem back home is that so many sweets, cookies, cakes and so on are put on the altar. The temple community can only eat so much cake and cookies.

That's why fruits are always good. Chop them up into a salad, give them away easily...
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Re: What needs to be done to create new Nalandas in the west?

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:31 am

lol, when I read the title of this thread I thought I might have started it a while ago and forgot about it.

I want to see Nalanda come back. When I'm older I want to establish a shedra in the USA. Would be great to incorporate it with other institutions and make a Nalanda.
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